Tim Hutchins wins judge-executive; next fiscal court to feature 4 Republicans

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 — A record number of Republican candidates in Tuesday’s election led to the largest number of Republicans ever elected in a single election in Nelson County. If the county’s ever experienced a “red wave,” Tuesday’s election was the closest we’ve come, taking down two incumbent Democrats in its wake.

JUDGE EXECUTIVE. At the top of the local races, Republican and former fiscal court magistrate Tim Hutchins won his race against Democrat Magistrate Eric Shelburne. Hutchins won by 2,333 votes, which game him 56.87 percent of the vote.

Both men campaigned doggedly through the summer, appearing at many of the same festivals, events and picnics.

While more than 65 percent of absentee voters chose Shelburne, voters who voted early and on election day chose Hutchins.

UPSET 1: CORONER RACE. Republican Danielle Chladek — who has run for coroner against Field Houghlin several times in the past — won the race for coroner Tuesday by a margin of 769 votes.

The win was an extraordinary upset in a race that has for years been dominated by Houghlin, who has served more than three decades as coroner or assistant county coroner.

Chladek will be the first county coroner in Nelson County not affiliated with the funeral industry since Dr. Harry Spalding served as coroner years ago.

UPSET 2: DISTRICT 2 MAGISTRATE RACE. In another upset of a Democratic incumbent candidate, Republican Adam Wheatley handily defeated 2nd District Magistrate Gary Coulter, with Wheatley receiving just more than 58 percent of votes cast in the race.

REPUBLICAN TAKES OPEN DISTRICT 3 SEAT. Republican MT Harned won a big victory over Democrat David Avis to win the magistrate’s race in District 3.

Harned received just over 64 percent of the votes cast in the race.

The seat is currently held by Magistrate Bernard Ice, who is retiring at the end of his current term.

LEAR HOLDS ON TO DISTRICT 4 SEAT. Republican Jeff Lear won handily in his bid to keep his seat as 4th District magistrate on Nelson Fiscal Court.

Lear received 65 percent of the vote in defeating his Democrat challenger, Brent Brey.

REPUBLICAN TAKES OPEN DISTRICT 5 SEAT. Former sheriff’s office detective and Republican candidate Jon Snow won his race over Democrat Kenny Downs to serve as the 5th District’s next magistrate.

Snow won with just over 60 percent of the votes cast.

A FISCAL COURT OF A DIFFERENT COLOR. With a the county’s first Republican judge-executive taking over county government in January, Tim Hutchins will have a very new — and very different fiscal court to work with.

Prior to this election, the five seats on fiscal court were held by 1 Republican and 4 Democrats. Starting in January, the court’s political make up will be 1 Democrat and 4 Republicans.


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